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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

February

It was the afternoon I have been waiting for: a little energy (me), slightly warmer air temperature, no wind, and afternoon sunshine, shining on my car.
I had to do it today: time to clear the snow off Pearl. I had not been out to my car in 3 weeks (at least), having been holed up in here, day after day.
I donned all my heavy winter gear: tights under jeans, 2 warm sweaters, 1 down coat (ankle length), 2 scarves, warm hat, gloves, and snow boots.
Hey, it’s Canada in winter here. Thus bundled up, I left Spike sleeping at home and I went out to the parking lot to liberate my Beetle, aka Pearl.
She was buried in snow (no surprise there) and I set to work.

It took me 45 minutes to get all the snow and ice brushed/scraped off.
In winter I always back into my parking space, just to be ready for days like this. The afternoon sun in the west melts residual snow/ice on Pearl’s windshield, and helps me get her cleared. Her tires are sort of frozen to the ground today. I was prepared for that, as my tablemate Joan had already told me hers were frozen too. I tried backing up a bit and that worked, so I did a little rocking. Did not leave the parking space, lol.
But at least Pearl is now cleaned off from the snow and ice deposited by the January storms. I’m expecting more storms/snow/ice before we see the last of February.
Can’t wait for spring!

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Last Day of March

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Last day of March has been a beautiful spring day (Dare I even say that out loud?) Spike and I went out for a walk in the afternoon sunshine. I saw only a few little clumps of ice, mostly on the north (shady side) of the house. At this time of year, the north (valley) side is getting precious little sun, while the south and west sides (street, parking lot, etc) were bathed in spring sunshine. In the photo, that’s melting ice you can see. We stayed out for 3/4 of an hour. Today I logged a lot of steps on my pedometer: total walked today = 4.29 km, which was 8938 steps. That’s a new high for me – and a direct result of the warm day (11 Celsius!)

Bird activity: lots of Canada geese recently – flying overhead, and honking. On the weekend I also saw 2 pairs of geese grazing on the grassy banks adjoining the parking lot at my favourite supermarket. They only do this in the spring. They fly up from the river and spend the afternoon scrabbling for anything they can find to eat. About ten days ago I was amazed to see a pair of hawks sitting on our fence. (I think they were in courtship mode.) That was definitely a first for me…2 hawks outside our windows, just sitting there, looking around. I’ve seen the falcons but it’s hard to get a good look at them- they zoom by. The downy woodpeckers have been coming to my bird feeder all winter and continue to visit. I am so lucky to live beside this massive wooded river valley, right in the middle of the city. Guess I am rambling on here, but it was so good to get outside, after the longest winter in years. Welcome to April, now less than an hour away! I have never been so glad to see the back end of winter.

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Enjoying lunch, Dec.22

Enjoying lunch, Dec.22

This tree  made it through the ice storm.

This tree made it through the ice storm.

It’s Crazyville here in our seniors’ residence. The ice storm (it’s still a frozen landscape out there) has T.O. held captive since Saturday Dec. 21. Revera Leaside is now the temporary home of a whole gang of seniors (30 to 40 of them) from the “Revera Annex” residence, which is located in the ‘west of Yonge St.’ area. It has no power, and its residents are parked here to be fed and kept warm until their power is restored. Toronto city admin sez maybe everyone will have power by Christmas Day, but they are not making promises. I think it unlikely. There are just too many trees down, having taken down the hydro wires with them. Revera Leaside’s power is delivered by buried wires, so we have not had a power outage during the storm.

Try to imagine being very old (80 to 100), being told to pack a plastic bag with your overnight stuff, and then being transported to a totally unfamiliar residence (here) where most of your crowd has to sleep on air mattresses on the floor in the basement Activity Room. That is what has happened to the folks from the Revera Annex residence. Today they are wandering our house like lost sheep. They are disoriented, and many of them were already mixed up before they ever left home. For the residents here who are still “with it,” the only evasive action one can take is to retreat to one’s room. I went to lunch and came straight back to my room. It is fortunate for these poor souls who are out of their home that Revera had room for them here, no matter how basic the accommodation has been for them. Biggest problem for all of us is the fact that more than double the number of people are using the elevators. Long waits to get one, and when it arrives, it is crammed with walkers and/or wheelchairs. I keep telling myself that this too shall pass. But not today. Probably not even tomorrow…and Christmas Day is a big question mark at this point.
I tried to make a reservation here for Christmas dinner, because the family doubts they will be able to shop between now and store closings on Christmas Eve. And even if they could shop, they are both without power, and therefore have no refrigeration to keep food for 24 to 48 hours. Alas, Christmas dinner here is fully booked. I was told, “Sorry, we are sold out” when I tried this morning to book Christmas dinner, just in case we need a Plan B. So that did not work out at all. Stay tuned.

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A cool but fun week in August. Miss Lily, Anne, ML and I had a great time.
Lily was so happy, especially because she had some playmates for the week. We had three dogs with us: Anne’s two pugs and my dog Spike.
One shot here is of the lock at Port Severn (part of the Trent-Severn waterway.)
Other photos are of the lake (Huron) and water activities. The sunsets are wonderful at this location.
The cottage faces west, but there is a small barrier island opposite the cottage, and the sun sets behind that.
It’s always beautiful!

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The Don Valley has come to life and the birds are singing. The robin that sings in the maple tree out front has made her nest in the concrete overhang at the front door of #10. The downy woodpeckers are visiting the bird feeder every day, but with great enthusiasm, the squirrels are helping daily to empty the feeders. Methinks all of them are raising new families. I keep restocking the food every morning.

The trilliums are in bloom, yay! They are always a delight to see. These are just over the fence, right outside our back door. They love the woods that come right up to the fence. We have to enjoy them while they last.

Trilliums 2

Trilliums 1

New life is seen everywhere. I thought these leaves were beautiful, even tho I have no clue what the plant is. Anyone? Bueller?

one leaf

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leaves1

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Spring has also sprung inside the house. Yesterday we had a delightful spring fashion show. All the models were residents of the house. The gentlemen of the house enjoyed watching the show as much as the ladies did. The clothing was so great that each of the models wound up buying the pieces of the outfit that she modelled.
There were also lots of suggestions for sprucing up an existing spring wardrobe by using new scarves, jewellery, and accent pieces.
Also note that I was not the only resident taking photos. It was an entertaining afternoon.

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http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2013/04/12/a_silent_ballet_for_mute_swans_at_humber_bay.html

The above link is to the front page of the online version of the Toronto Star, tonight, Fri. April 12.
Story and video are by my sister. The music is self explanatory, I think. 🙂
I hope you enjoy the video. Comments welcome here.

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What Spring?

So much for spring! April 2nd, and the air temp is sitting right on the freezing point (32F or 0C) There’s a howling cold wind out of the north, and outside is not a nice place to be. With the wind chill, the temp is down around -10C.
It’s actually snowing hard right now outside my window. The squirrels were raiding my bird feeders while I was watching from inside in the comfort of the dining room. Poor squirrels are as hungry as the birds, and I don’t begrudge them one mouthful of birdseed. They also love the suet cake.

Waited for spring to deal with my dead car, and today was the day I arranged for it to be towed to the dealer’s service department. Of course, I had to go outside (having failed to dress warmly enough) to talk to the tow-truck driver and to give him the car key (for the dealer.) Just freezing cold out there; felt like February. As I type this, the major snow squall that’s going on outside my window is usually described on the weather newscast as “lake effect snow,” meaning that it is all the fault of Lake Ontario. Personally, I blame it on the weather gods, who are most definitely not on our side this year. Hope the green plants (tulips or daffs, not sure which) by our front door don’t succumb to today’s big freeze!

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